Identifying as an LGBTQ ally is a large responsibility. While you may want to speak up and correct people, it may not always be the right time or situation.
Here’s 9 times this struggle occurs and a decision has to be made.
1. “I can’t wait to know the gender of my child.”
As I’ve mentioned before, gender is different than sex. However, a lot of people don’t really realize this. When a new mother is having a child, they may say they’re finding out the gender, but it’s really the sex. No one can determine a person’s gender before they’re born, only their biological sex. It’s common to want to speak up as an ally or activist, but it should be done at the right time and place.
2. “Those lesbians over there are so annoying.”
Not only is this offensive to others, but unless the person knows them, they are probably assuming those people are lesbians. Rather than making it a big thing, you may want to just calmly say, “How do you know they’re lesbians?” It brings up a topic of determining a stranger’s sexual orientation without actually knowing them, which is impossible.
3. “I guess I just don’t approve of your lifestyle choices.”
As I’ve mentioned, lifestyle choice and just the word lifestyle is oftentimes offensive to the LGBTQ Community. Identifying as LGBTQ is not a choice, and it is certainly not a lifestyle because it is an identity. If possible, you should speak up at this time, especially if you think it is offensive to you or those around you. It may be difficult, but it is certainly worth it.
4. “It’s really only for guys.”
This statement is categorizing within the gender binary. This may be said in a store about something one is thinking of purchasing. However, it’s not right to categorize products, or anything for that matter, by gender, especially by male and female, because there are many other genders.
5. “I’m just not convinced she’s gay.”
This also can be offensive, and oftentimes appear as unsupportive of a person’s identity. There should not be a pressure to convince someone of your identity because it is personal and individual, and really doesn’t involve anyone but you.
6. “I don’t know why he’s coming out if he’s never even been with another guy.”
Coming out is a completely personal choice and should be done on the individual’s own terms. No matter what the person’s experience is, they know when they are ready to come out.
7. “LGBTQ pins are for baby dykes.”
As I’ve mentioned, dyke can be an offensive term. LGBTQ pins can be used as an expression of one’s support or interest in the community, and can even be an expression of their orientation. If a person likes wearing them, they can, no matter what anyone else thinks of them.
8. “The “they” pronoun makes no sense.”
The “they” pronoun can be tricky at first because it often comes off as the plural, as if referring to multiple people. However it is used as a gender neutral pronoun rather than he or she. People should respect that and realize that some people identify this way. In fact, it is a good idea to use the “they” pronoun if you don’t know how someone identifies.
9. “Wait, is that a guy?”
Although gender is an amazing identification, it really isn’t important if you’re not sure, so there’s no need to clarify.
As an LGBTQ ally, you have to pick your battles. When faced with situations like these, you have to analyze the situation by asking yourself: Do these people care? Is this really going to help them? Am I prepared for backlash if they give me attitude? Always go with your gut and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think others are hoping you do for their comfort and safety.
Originally published on uloop.com.